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The Berkshires

New York not liable for Ethan Allen damages

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Albany/HV: New York not liable for Ethan Allen damages
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The state is not liable for Ethan Allen damages. That ruling comes from New York's top court.

The Lake George tour boat tipped over in 2005, drowning 20 people.

In part, the appeals court ruled, "the State is not liable for the negligent performance of a governmental function unless there existed a special duty to the injured person, in contrast to a general duty owed to the public."

The state had cleared the Ethan Allen for a capacity of 48 passengers. Federal transportation officials later said it should have been limited to 14.

The state has since raised its weight expectation per passenger when setting the capacity. In the 1950s, inspectors factored each passenger as an average of 140 pounds. Now, it is 174 pounds.

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